A Digital Life in a (Pre) Analog World

29 Oct

Since this post is just about my life in Dover, I've decide to illustrate it with pictures I've taken on my wanderings around town. So, I guess they're all credit to me.

Oh, my blog, I’ve been neglecting you.  I have lots of excuses as to why, but basically it comes to this: it’s hard to write about things that inspire you when you’re not feeling very inspired.  It’s hard to write about things that make you think when you haven’t really been thinking.

Recently, I’ve been deeply involved in a big project at work.  And it’s sucked all of my time.. and most of my brain power.  And at the end of the day, I’m left pretty drained.  I just want to sleep, and maybe eat something terrible for me (chocolate covered raisins have become my friend).

I can’t settle into a book.  I can’t focus.  Hell, I can barely even follow a comment thread.  And I can’t seem to get myself out of this funk.

Looks like a Mario level, doesn't it?

Looks like a Mario level, doesn't it?

Before, when I was feeling like this.  I’d call a friend or bounce ideas off my family.  I’d go to a coffee shop, or out to dinner.  But I just moved.  To Dover, Ohio.  It’s kind of a cultural black hole.  Coffee shops close at 7:00; and they carry the Tuscarawas County Bargain Hunter, not the New York Times.  I’m lacking a place to go to have inspirational and challenging conversations, and the people to have them with.

Dental Office Sign

Wouldn't this sign make you afraid to go to the dentist?

But, it’s not that everyone isn’t nice.  They’re so nice.  Like, nice to a fault. Maybe if I could get over my cynicism and senses of irony and superiority, I could make it work.  (But, unfortunately, those are far too engrained my card-carrying yuppie self.)  Maybe I could open up and meet some amazing people.  Maybe there really is some good stuff in the Tuscarawas County Bargain Hunter.

But there’s just a huge cultural disconnect.  I’m trying to live a digital life in a (pre) analog world.  True story:

Not happy to be Amish

My little Amish soul mate

A few weekends ago, I went to an Amish auction.  (Really, the title of this whole chapter of my life should be Maggie Meets the Amish.)  I bought a new TV table (the first “real” – read: no particle board of veneers – piece of furniture that I’ve ever owned).  So there I am standing in line with all the other people, most of them Amish, who also bought items at the auction, waiting to pick up my table.  Let’s just say it’s very clear that I don’t fit in.  I’m wearing shorts and a t-shirt (hello, Indian Summer), not a homemade long dress; also: no bonnet.  The woman beside me is an Amish woman in her 70s who’s basically like, “So, you’re not from around here.”  And I tell, no, I’m not.  And she asks what’s brought me to the area (a new job) and what I do.  And I explain that I work in marketing and she asks what specifically do I do, so, totally not thinking “You’re talking to a 70 year old Amish woman, adapt your story,” I say, “oh, I do social media marketing – I spent a lot of time on Facebook – and I design Excel spread sheets.”  I might as well have just made something up.  She probably thought that I was speaking jibberish.  But, she smiled and nodded and asked how I liked it and what I had bought at the auction.  We talked about the beautiful end table she bought and how it was going to fit in her living room so nicely.  And it really was a lovely conversation.  And she was a lovely woman.

Boo Radley House

The Boo Radley House. Actually, my neighbors do not find this weird. I find it terrifying.

But I feel like those are all my conversations now.  They’re lovely, but shallow, and completely disconnected from who I really am and what I really care about.  I spend my time walking around town and taking pictures of the ridiculous things that I see, some beautiful, some sad.  Currently, I’m not engaged in a world of deeper conversations.  I live alone.  I work largely alone, holed up in my office, headphones on.

But, I am trying, to make myself go places, to make myself do things, to make myself meet people.  I’m also trying, and completely failing, to put away my cynicism, irony, and superiority.  But sometimes I see things that just reinforce all the crazy things that I’ve been thinking about this area.

So, why does this keep me from blogging?  Because I’m feeling disconnected and antsy… and not at all a part of the larger conversation about digital culture.  It’s hard to feel like you have something to say about future tech when you regularly have conversations that go “yes, my phone has a camera in it”.

Questions of the day: What do you do to keep yourself inspired and connected?  Do you think I’ll actually be able to get over my irony, superiority, and cynicism?  Maybe just one of them?


MaggieCakes is a blog about social media, marketing, culture, and what’s new on the internet written by me, Maggie O’Toole.  Every day (okay, I try for every day) I comb blogs and news outlets for the news about internet culture and social media to bring them to you (with my commentary, of course) here on MaggieCakes. Find anything interesting in the worlds of culture or social media that you’d like to see a post on? Leave a comment or send me an e-mail at 2maggieotoole@gmail.com.

4 Responses to “A Digital Life in a (Pre) Analog World”

  1. JSD October 30, 2011 at 4:29 am #

    I’ve missed your posts and wondered where you were. Until you get yourself settled and can reconnect back into your ‘groove’, maybe you could change the focus of your postings?…temporarily, of course. At least stay connected with the rest of the world out here in…what is it called?…the Blogsphere? Correct me, please, on my vocabulary.
    This culture shock would be difficult for anybody, but especially for a young, very tech-savvy person. Hang in there.

    • Maggie O'Toole October 30, 2011 at 9:45 am #

      Thank you. I’m actually working on a new post now. I’ve realized that maybe the Blogosphere (for some reason there’s an extra O in there, I have no idea why) maybe be a real asset to me as I seek to stay reconnected. I’ve thought about shifting the focus to talk a bit about my wanderings across rural Ohio and the huge digital divide that I’m experiencing, but have a very hard time discussing it without out sounding too… well, snotty. There are really cool anthropological implications here, but I don’t know if I can sufficiently get over my “woe is me” instinct to due them justice. Thanks for the support.

  2. matthewhyde November 29, 2011 at 12:03 pm #

    I know this is a bit late, but I really liked this post – some of the issues you raised inspired a post over at my own blog. Hope you’re feeling more connected!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Not Quite A Luddite: Not everyone’s going digital « Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth - November 29, 2011

    […] post was inspired by an entry over at Maggiecakes, about living ‘a digital life in a pre-analogue world’. It’s an interesting post, raising questions about the interaction between ‘digital natives’ […]

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